After the first days of pre-season testing for the new Formula 1 season at Spain’s Jerez track, we were able to capture a glimpse at what the world champions Mercedes and last seasons runners-up, Red Bull had to offer.
It would be expected that Mercedes’ W06 2015 car wouldn’t differ a whole lot from the W05 car that made Mercedes such a dominant force last season and it would seem this is the case. Lewis Hamilton, the best person you could ask to give their opinion on the new car has already given his viewpoint. When asked if it felt different, the current World Champion replied, “No. It’s the same as last year. A little bit more downforce, but otherwise it handles exactly the same.” he then added, “I’m even using the same seat from last year, the steering wheel is the same, the cockpit is the same”. After being halted by a water leak after 91 laps, Hamilton seemed confident that this new version was very similar and was something he was comfortable in, “The characteristics of the car feel pretty much the same too.” For Mercedes then, it seems to be a case of ‘if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.’ Obviously there is always room for improvement which Mercedes are clearly aiming for with aerodynamic and downforce alterations as well as a look at improving reliability, but you can not blame them for being confident in the build up for the new season after their performance last year.
Unfortunately for Red Bull, proceedings at Jerez were not as smooth due to Daniil Kvyat running off of the track and damaging their only front wing the team had at the ready for their RB11 model. With the lack of spares readily available, Kvyat was forced out on the track without a front wing for limited installation lap runs. Team principle Christian Horner said new parts are being flown out from Red Bulls’ base in Milton Keynes, which will be a setback. “Unfortunately Daniil had a very slight off on an install lap this morning on a cold lap”, Christian Horner explained. “He was changing something on the steering wheel between turns 2 to 3 and very lightly touched the tyre wall with the front wing.” Horner is confident that there is no doubt Red Bull will be up and running as testing continues, where we will begin to learn a bit more about what they have in store for us for the new season.